[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

little, nasty bugs in our water supplies

> Date: Tue, 04 Aug 1998 21:15:38 +1100
> From: Steve_Amor at eol_ieaust.org.au (Steve Amor)
> In Sydney, Australia this last week there has been a reported 'giardia'
> outbreak in the cities' water supply.  To the non-technical water people
> like myself this is a nasty little germ that lives inside animal
> intestines and makes people sick.  Australia (unfortunately) has no
> standards on levels of giardia (and other, similarly nasty bugs) in their
> water supplies, only 'guidelines'.

Giardia is common (native?) in North America, in wild animals.  Around 
here, we call it 'beaver fever'.  People usually get it by drinking from 
pristine wilderness streams. :-)  It's a protozoan that can cause chronic 
diarrhea.  The ordinary chlorination used to kill other pathogens in
municipal treatment plants is effective, and you wouldn't expect to find 
it in water from a properly maintained well.

> My point is, are there similar 'nasties' found in tap water around the
> world that would infect our freshwater fish and plants?  If so, is there
> anything we can do about it, or do we just hope that we never get any of
> them?

Once about 25 years ago I had a case of velvet (Oodinium) in a tank that
hadn't had a new fish added for months.  An experienced breeder told me 
that it could survive the treatment plant and show up in tap water.  I 
don't know whether this is (still) true or not.  I've read that many kinds
of harmless (to humans) protozoa and nematodes and such are found in properly 
treated, safe drinking water.  

Your fish and plants evolved in water full of these 'nasties'.  In a semi-
closed system like an aquarium, they can get out of balance, so be vigilant
but Don't Panic.